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ERIC Number: EJ903554
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Nov
Pages: 28
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2680
"But a Step from College to the Judicial Bench": College and Curriculum in New England's "Age of Improvement"
Nivison, Kenneth
History of Education Quarterly, v50 n4 p460-487 Nov 2010
In 1827, two years after its incorporation as a college and six years removed from its founding as a "collegiate institution," Amherst College revamped its curriculum into what it called a "parallel course of study." In this new scheme, students were allowed to follow one of two tracks during their college years. Amherst's response to the Age of Improvement both confirmed the foundational underpinnings of early republican higher learning and acknowledged the rapidly emerging challenges that faced American colleges in the first half of the nineteenth century. While Amherst's parallel course of studies may have been bold in its particulars, the spirit that animated its creation was hardly unique among its cohort colleges founded across the republic in the decades after the American Revolution. In this article, the author examines five New England colleges: (1) Williams; (2) Bowdoin; (3) Middlebury; (4) Waterville; and (5) Amherst, and demonstrates how presidents and faculty routinely engaged in progressive curricular reform in response to the broader political and social pressures of the day while remaining faithful to the foundational principles of classical republican education. He discusses how New England's colleges sought as much reform of the curriculum as they could reasonably sustain while remaining committed to the firm foundation of the Christian-republican tradition. Redefining a useful education in a new, expanding republic, presidents, trustees, and faculty sought nothing less than for their students to become agents of collective betterment, builders and cultivators of a great Age of Improvement. (Contains 68 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A